Tovaangar: (A Seal) is a response to the history of the City of Los Angeles, TOVAANGAR. It highlights the history of Self Help Graphics's print studio, founded by a Franciscan nun, and features the Tongva/ Gabrielino people, the Original People of Los Angeles. The tribe's story is interwoven with the effects of colonization and intermarriage directly associated with the mission system and Spanish caste system headed by Franciscan monks, led by Junipero Serra. Serra was not only responsible for the colonization and enslavement of Native communities from Baja to San Francisco but was directly involved in the San Gabriel Mission's establishment, which paved the path for the City's formation. Although SHG was founded by a Franciscan nun, it provides a space for social justice and art, a platform for healing and resiliency, despite opposing belief systems or past histories. The current seal of Los Angeles has been amended over the years to reflect a Tongva/Gabrielino woman. However, she is still dressed in European clothing with an air of westernized female servitude, reinforcing an illusion that the Original people were primitive hunter/gatherers and passive to colonial efforts. This print depicts a Tongva woman in traditional regalia and ceremonial objects. The artist seeks to reassert the narrative that we are a sovereign nation and that Native women could also have a place in political power, serve as medicine people and chiefs, and collectively make decisions for the betterment and welfare of their people. Despite colonization by the Franciscans, the mission system, and the United States Government, WE ARE STILL HERE. This land is unceded Tongva lands.
This print is a collab between Weshoyot Alvitre and Self Help Graphics, throough their Professional Print Program Atelier.
This print is done on 22" x 30" rag paper and is limited to 62 copies.